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Image forming apparatus

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Title: Image forming apparatus.
Abstract: An image forming apparatus includes an image data acquisition unit, a frequency distribution acquisition unit, and a color setting unit. The image data acquisition unit acquires image data representing a color image. The frequency distribution acquisition unit allocates a color of each pixel of the data as a class and acquires a frequency distribution representing an occurrence rate of the color based on the data acquired by the image data acquisition unit. The color setting unit sets a first color with the highest frequency distribution occurrence rate as a background color in the color image, sets a second color with an occurrence rate next in magnitude to the first color as a character color in the color image, and sets a color with an occurrence rate lower than that of the second color as a pattern color that is a color of a specific pattern in the color image. ...


Browse recent Kyocera Mita Corporation patents - Osaka-shi, JP
Inventor: Hiroyuki Harada
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120105880 - Class: 358 19 (USPTO) - 05/03/12 - Class 358 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120105880, Image forming apparatus.

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BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an image forming apparatus that forms color images.

2. Description of the Related Art

Among image forming apparatuses such as printers, copiers, and all-in-one machines, those provided with a color printing mode and a monochromatic mode have been known. Further, a full-color mode and a two-color color mode are known as color printing modes.

In the full-color mode, printing is performed using all of the color toners provided in the image forming apparatus, and in the two-color color mode, printing is performed using a black toner and one chromatic color (specific color) other than black. A chromatic color is obtained by mixing a plurality of chromatic color toners.

In the above-described image forming apparatus, the two-color color mode is implemented in the below-described manner.

The above-described image forming apparatus is provided with a plurality of color component counter units having, for example, blue, green, and red color components allocated one by one thereto. Each color component counter unit counts the number of pixels of the color allocated to the color component counter unit from among a plurality of pixels included in image data.

Then, the above-described image forming apparatus sets the color corresponding to the color component counter unit with the highest count value as the specific color (one specific color). The image forming apparatus then prints the black portions of the image data with black and prints the color portions by using the specific color that has thus been set.

In business documents, black characters constitute a major portion of the document, and only a logo mark, which is a company mark, is often printed in a chromatic color. This is because the color of the logo mark is an important element representing the company. Further, only underlining lines and markers in the black text document are also often printed in a chromatic color.

Since the logo mark color is often the corporate color representing the specific company, the user needs this logo mark color to be truthfully reproduced on the paper. It is also desirable that the underlining lines and markers be truthfully reproduced.

The following problems are encountered when a document in which only a pattern such as a logo mark, underlining lines, and markers are printed in a chromatic color is printed in a two-color color mode in the above-described image forming apparatus.

Thus, since the above-described image forming apparatus prints the color portion by using the color corresponding to the color component counter unit with the highest count value, the color that can be used for printing the color portion is limited to any of the colors that have been allocated to the color component counter portions in advance.

For this reason, even when the original color image that is to be printed uses only one color other than black, a difference in hue can occur between the color of the color portion in the original color image and the color of the color portion actually printed in the two-color color mode.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide an image forming apparatus that can increase reproducibility of the color of the pattern when the image including the pattern of a chromatic color is printed.

An image forming apparatus according to one aspect of the present invention includes an image data acquisition unit, a frequency distribution acquisition unit, and a color setting unit. The image data acquisition unit acquires image data representing a color image. The frequency distribution acquisition unit allocates a color of each pixel of the image data as a class and acquires a frequency distribution representing an occurrence rate of the each color on the basis of the image data acquired by the image data acquisition unit. The color setting unit sets a first color that is a color with the highest occurrence rate in the frequency distribution acquired by the frequency distribution acquisition unit as a background color in the color image, sets a second color that is a color with an occurrence rate next in magnitude to the first color as a character color in the color image, and sets a color with an occurrence rate lower than that of the second color as a pattern color that is a color of a specific pattern in the color image.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the image forming apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example of electric configuration of the image forming apparatus shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an explanatory drawing illustrating schematically an example of the image of the document represented by image data;

FIG. 4A is an explanatory drawing illustrating an example of a histogram representing the occurrence rate of colors of each pixel of image data;

FIG. 4B is an explanatory drawing illustrating an example of a histogram representing the occurrence rate of colors of each pixel of image data;

FIG. 4C is an explanatory drawing illustrating an example of a histogram representing the occurrence rate of colors of each pixel of image data;

FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating an example of operation of the image forming apparatus shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating an example of operation of the image forming apparatus shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating an example of operation of the image forming apparatus shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating an example of operation of the image forming apparatus shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating another example of operation of the color setting unit shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 10 is an explanatory drawing illustrating schematically an example of frequency distribution indicating the occurrence rate of color groups sharing high-order four bits for each color from among cyan, magenta, and yellow;

FIG. 11 illustrates schematically an example of frequency distribution in which a region in the form of a rectangular parallelepiped is formed by connecting a group association to which the first color group belongs with the group association to which the second color group belongs;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view illustrating schematically an example of group association configuration;

FIG. 13 is an exploded view illustrating schematically an example of group association configuration;

FIGS. 14A and 14B are explanatory drawings illustrating schematically the processing of the frequency distribution acquisition unit and color setting unit when the single-color pattern mode is set;

FIG. 15 is a block diagram illustrating another example of electric configuration of the image forming apparatus shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 16 is a flowchart illustrating an example of operation of the image forming apparatus shown in FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is a flowchart illustrating an example of operation of the image forming apparatus shown in FIG. 15; and

FIG. 18 is a flowchart illustrating an example of operation of the image forming apparatus shown in FIG. 15.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Embodiments of the present invention will be described below with reference to the appended drawings. In the drawings, like components will be assigned with like reference numerals and the explanation thereof will be herein omitted. In the embodiments explained hereinbelow, a color image forming apparatus performing full color printing by using cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y), and black (K) color toners will be explained by way of example.

The image forming apparatus may also perform full color printing by using red, green, blue, and black color toners.

First Embodiment

FIG. 1 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the image forming apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention. The image forming apparatus 1 is provided with an image reading unit 200 and an image forming main body unit 22. The image reading unit 200 is constituted by a document feed unit 210, a scanner unit 220, a CIS 231, a user interface unit I arranged so as to be exposed on the front surface of the image forming main body unit 22, and the below described reverse mechanism.

The document feed unit 210 is provided with an ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) and has a document tray 211, a pick-up roller 212, a platen 213, a discharge roll 214, and a discharge tray 215. The documents that are the reading objects are placed on the document tray 211. The documents placed on the document tray 211 are picked up one by one by the pick-up roller 212 and successively conveyed via a gap to the platen 213. The documents that have passed over the platen 213 are successively discharged to the discharge tray 215 by the discharge roller 214.

A timing sensor (not shown in the figure) that detects paper sheets is arranged at a predetermined position before the reading position P in the document conveying path, from among the positions facing the circumferential surface of the platen 213, and the timing of the document conveying to the reading position P is determined on the basis of the output request of the timing sensor. The timing sensor is constituted, for example, by a photo-interrupter.

The scanner unit 220 optically reads the images of the documents and generates image data. The scanner unit 220 is provided with a glass 221, a light source 222, a first mirror 223, a second mirror 224, a third mirror 225, a first carriage 226, a second carriage 227, an image converging lens 228, and a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) 229.

The scanner unit 220 uses a white color fluorescent lamp such as a cold-cathode fluorescent lamp as the light source 222, and the light from the document is guided to the CCD 229 by the fist mirror 223, second mirror 224, third mirror 225, first carriage 226, second carriage 227, and image converging lens 228. The scanner unit 220 is constituted using a white color fluorescent lamp such as a cold-cathode fluorescent lamp as the light source 222. Therefore, color reproducibility is better than in the case of the below-described CIS 231 using a three-color LED (Light Emitting Diode) as a light source.

The user manually places the document on the glass 221 when the document is read without using the document feed unit 210. The light source 222 and the first mirror 223 are supported by the first carriage 226, and the second mirror 224 and the third mirror 225 are supported by the second carriage 227.

The document reading system of the image reading unit 200 can be of a flat bed reading mode in which the document placed on the glass 221 is read by the scanner unit 220 and an ADF reading mode in which the document is introduced by the document feed unit 210 (ADF) and the document is read in the conveying process.

In the flat bed reading mode, the document placed on the glass 221 is irradiated by light from the light source 222, and the reflected light of one line in the main scanning direction is successively reflected by the first mirror 223, second mirror 224, and third mirror 225 and falls on the image converging lens 228. The image of the light incident upon the image converging lens 228 is formed on the light receiving surface of the CCD 229.

The CCD 229 is a one-dimensional image sensor which copies and processes image data of the document corresponding to one line. The first carriage 226 and the second carriage 227 are configured to be capable of moving in the directions perpendicular to the main scanning direction (sub-scanning direction, direction of arrow Y), and when the reading of one line is completed, the first carriage 226 and the second carriage 227 move in the sub-scanning direction and the next line is read.

In the ADF reading mode, the document feed unit 210 uses the pick-up roller 212 to pick up one by one the documents placed on the document tray 211. In this case, the first carriage 226 and the second carriage 227 are arranged in a predetermined reading position P that is located below the reading window 230.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120105880 A1
Publish Date
05/03/2012
Document #
13283883
File Date
10/28/2011
USPTO Class
358/19
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
04N1/60
Drawings
19



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